In recent years, the government has appointed two gaming policy investigations of a general nature; The Gaming License Inquiry, which in 2017 submitted its report A re-regulated gaming market, and the Gaming Market Inquiry, which in 2020 submitted its report Increased protection and strengthened regulation in the unregulated gaming market.
In their reports, both of these inquiries carefully weigh their gaming policy proposals before taking a final position. The investigations obtain expert opinions on the complex issues they have to deal with and decide on.
A recurring question in these investigations is how the balance between strict regulation and channeling is best balanced. In short, it is a question of whether strict regulation entails strong consumer protection, but that any austerity at the same time risks driving online players away from the regulated gaming market. In a worst case scenario, a regulation can thus be created with the world’s most ambitious consumer protection, at the same time as the player collective seeks the unregulated gaming market which is perceived as less rigid and thus better able to respond to gaming consumers’ wishes.
The balancing act for gaming policy is to achieve as high a level of consumer protection as possible without the leakage to the unregulated gaming market becoming unacceptably high. It is not an easy task.
This difficult balancing act is now nothing that seems to worry the Equality Commission. In parallel with the Gambling Market Inquiry’s work, it now appears that the Equality Commission is coming up with proposals that go much further in a tightening direction than the state’s specially appointed gambling policy inquiries. This is done without the government asking the Commission to investigate the area of gambling policy, and this is done without experts in this policy area having been invited to the investigation. The reports can be read in their entirety on the Equality Commission’s website.
In short, the inquiry proposes that warning texts should be linked to the marketing of commercial games, in order to instead in another part of the inquiry propose a constitutional amendment that prohibits all forms of marketing of games. In addition, the inquiry recommends a “state-administered gaming portal” where all Swedish-licensed gaming should be gathered.
BOS rejects these proposals and hopes that future public investigations will focus more on the knowledge-gathering phase in an investigative work in the future, so that greater clarity can be brought regarding how gaming on the Internet works, what is possible to regulate and what probable consequences different regulatory intervention has. It is our belief that state internet portals will then not be relevant to propose again, nor restrictions on the constitutional freedom of expression.